By AJ Manderichio
In a summer already packed with wedding planning, the last thing on Jared Boll’s mind was a potential foray into free agency.
A member of the Columbus Blue Jackets for almost a decade, the rugged right wing was blindsided when the team decided to place him on waivers and buy out the remaining year on his contract at the end of June.
“It’s totally part of the business, but I’m not sure it’s totally sunk in yet,” Boll told the Columbus Dispatch right after the move. “I gave everything I have to this city. I love Columbus more than anyone. It’s hard. I get it, but it’s still hard.”
Before he could react, the Ducks swooped in. The team stayed in contact with Boll, ultimately signing him to a two-year contract on July 5. It was the perfect situation for Boll, whose summer was also highlighted by marrying the former Lauren Partridge on July 9.
“I can’t explain it. I feel like I’ve talked about it all summer,” he said during a recent phone interview. “At the end of the season and the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t expecting this. It was a total change for me, a surprise. When I let it all sink in, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this organization and finally get out there.
|“Playing against [the Ducks], they’re always a team that you didn’t want to play against. They’re big, they’re heavy, they play hard. I’m looking forward to getting into that mix.” |
“Playing against [the Ducks], they’re always a team that you didn’t want to play against. They’re big, they’re heavy, they play hard. I’m looking forward to getting into that mix.”
At the surface, Boll remains one of the last “tough guys” in the league. He’s fought 154 times in his nine-year career, compiling a Blue Jackets franchise record 1,195 penalty minutes. Those numbers only highlight the type of physical presence Boll believes he brings to the lineup.
“I try to finish every hit, make it hard on the opposing team,” he says. “Get pucks deep and make [the opposing defenseman] not want to go back and get pucks. Whatever way they want me to help the team win, I’ll do.”
It’s not the prettiest – or easiest – job to do, but former teammates praise Boll’s style.
“Boller was the greatest teammate,” Columbus right wing Cam Atkinson told the Dispatch. “Everyone looked up to him. He knew his role and was the best at it. He never complained or was negative when he was playing. He just wanted to win.”
The recent hiring of Randy Carlyle only made Anaheim a more appealing destination for Boll.
“He always has tough, hard teams to play against, and that fits my game perfectly,” he says. “That was another huge reason why I was so excited to come to Anaheim. He’s proven he can win. He won a Cup there a few years back, so it will be nice to get there, learn the system and play the way he wants to play. I think it fits my game really well.”
A return to the Western Conference could help Boll improve his offensive contributions. When Columbus was in the West, he posted 24 goals and 52 points in six seasons.
Boll knows the expectations remain high in Anaheim. It’s an organization with championship aspirations, pressure he welcomes as he gets ready to make the move to California.
“The veteran guys that they have – and some of the guys they have coming in – are guys that can go really far in the playoffs and really make a move at the Stanley Cup. That’s every hockey player’s goal, to win the Stanley Cup.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be with this organization and start training camp.”